5 Ways Cold Outreach Emails Can Lead To Hot Leads

In the days of old, cold calling was the most dreaded thing in the world. It meant only one thing: You had no more leads left! There was no one left to call. No number in your diary of a potential customer. No address jotted down somewhere of a contact you engaged with briefly, who might vaguely be interested in your product. Nada. Zipp. How are cold outreach emails any different?

cold outreach emails

This is the point where you have to take your vacuum cleaner or your distribution proposal and go knock on some doors. You face stern faces, furrowed brows and angry glares. If you are lucky, that’s all you face. If you are a tele-marketer, this is where you pick up the phone directory, listen to that monotonous humming sound on the other end of the receiver and begin dialling numbers randomly. It is you and the phone for the next couple of hours, or until you get some warm leads.

Cold calling is the hardest, truest form of selling – and it will make you a better marketer. However, in the digital world we no longer sell door-to-door and we don’t use the phone directory anymore. Instead, we have cold outreach emails.

Cold Emailing vs Cold Calling

At the door, and on the phone, you will get some classic rejections or attempts to turn you away. Of course, you will meet some resistance! No one willingly parts with their time or money without getting something they really want in return. To the person on the other end, you are just someone who wants to rob them of the money they have worked so hard for.

You will be tested like you’ve never been tested before. Your marketing skills will transform into spur-of-the-moment, shoot-from-the-hip techniques. You will learn that sincerity is the best selling tool, and you will try to do anything just to get a foot into the door. As challenging as this is, cold emails are even more difficult.

cold outreach emails

In some regards, cold emailing is exactly the same as knocking on doors. You are approaching someone you don’t know, someone you’ve never met before, wanting to share something amazing with them. You want to show them a solution to a problem they never even knew they had.

Unlike door knocking, the recipient of your email can simply choose not to open your mail. They might not like your subject line (face) and decide not to open the mail (door) at all. You don’t have that golden opportunity to show them your innocent smile or to bowl them over with your positive energy. You only have your words.

Cold Outreach Emails?

Before you hit send, look at these 5 points on how to heat up a cold lead:

Subject Line

When an email pops into someone’s inbox, they normally ask 3 questions:

  1. Who is emailing me?

  2. What do they want?

  3. How long will this take?

The subject line needs to overcome the Who, the What and the How. Think of the subject line as your face when knocking on doors, or your voice when calling up a stranger. It should be like a pleasant greeting, yet it should provide enough information to convince the receiver to open it up.

Research shows a higher click rate and a higher conversion rate when the subject line contains the reader’s name. So, tell Melissa or Stan, that you found them through John or Cindy. It creates a familiarity, as though you are in the same social group, though you have never met.

If you have something in common, even vaguely, then this is where you mention it. You are saying to this stranger, “I know you, Phil. We could be mates. And because we know each other, I wanted you to have a look at this mail.”

Go have a look at the subject lines that actually gets opened and ask yourself what makes them different.

The Personal Touch

Email communication is already an informal mode of messaging. “Dear Sir” or “Hello Madam,” will get deleted before it gets opened. You are afforded the opportunity to be a bit more personal. “Hi Brian” or “Hello Samantha” are acceptable approaches for email.

If it is someone who has a website or specific product, then you have just become their biggest fan. Work in a short note on how you love their work, or how you make use of their product.

The tone should not change from here. Keep it casual and engaging throughout. Do not give the reader a reason to close up. As with the subject line, a warm and engaging mail will work wonders. The idea is to generate a positive, or even a neutral, energy around your perceived persona. It’s easier to do business with someone you feel more comfortable with.


With cold emailing, you get to exercise those creative muscles a bit. This might sound crazy, but go with it. You can be a doctor to a sick patient. “I want to help you plan for that unexpected trip to the hospital, John.” You can be a business tech wizard who understands the intricacies of cloud-based data analysis for modern businesses. “Keeping track of all your reports and analysing them can take up so much time, but I have an easy solution that will make your life so much simpler.”

While you are being creative, finding leads can be easier than you think. If you are looking for a lead, then reply to a newsletter you received. “Was so awesome to receive your last mail. I think your products are the best. I mentioned them just the other day in my personal blog. If you missed it, here is a link: …”

cold outreach emails


No matter who you are contacting, it is best to plan your email as though your readers are busy people. They are in a rush and the last thing they want to do is to go through a wordy communication about the complexities of life. According to Gregory Ciotti, you have to stick to the 3-B Plan, which is made up of Brevity, Blunt and Basic.

Keep your communication brief. From subject line, to email body, to closing, always keep it concise. Most people would think blunt means pushing for a sale, but in this instance it is merely a nudge to get to the point. In being brief, make sure you quickly get to the reason for the communication. As for basic, keep in mind that this cold email is your first communication with someone you have never met. Keep it as simple as possible and avoid attachments or images.


That’s right! Whatever has a start, should also have an end. In a cold outreach email you want to have a memorable closing line, or offer the reader a gentle call to action, but you have never met them. The way you wrap up your brief cold email, is as important as how you start it. Telling John that you will be around his shop on Monday and would like to swing by, is great. Asking John how many policies he wants to buy from you, is not.

The best way to go about your closing line, is to follow the CUSP closing method. A Clear, Uncluttered, Short and Personal closing line which politely nudges for a call to action, is ideal.

Bottom line: treat each cold outreach emails as a hot lead

The one undeniable fact about cold calling, is that the closing rate will always be higher once you get in the door. If you can get in, you will probably sell. Cold outreach emails are exactly the same. All the more reason why that cold email has to have the perfect approach. That email is an introduction communication to what could potentially be a long business relationship.